Researchers have found the bloodsucking vampire to be maintaining strong bonds of friendship by sharing their meals with each other. The bats who have been frequently demonized due to their blood-based diet were found to be capable of providing care.
The study published on Thursday was led by researchers from Ohio State University. The study authors observed the bats be caring for each other while held captive, so much so that they remember each other even after they have been released. The researchers who published their findings journal Current Biology were amused to notice that the bats showed care for each other in two different scenarios.
A total of 23 wild female vampire bats and their progenies were held in captivity by the researchers for the study. During the course of two years, the researchers deliberately refrained from feeding some of the bats. The study authors noticed that such bats received their food from other vampire bats who regurgitated previously consumed food to share with the deprived bats. The study authors said that the fact that these bats were not related to each other made the phenomenon of sharing food and social grooming more remarkable among the flying mammals.
After the bats were released to their natural habitats they assimilated into other bigger groups. However, the researchers noticed that they still maintained the bond that they made with the bats with whom they were in captivity. According to a scholar of social bonds among primates, Joan Silk of Arizona State University said that it’s controversial to call these bonds as friendship. According to an NPR report, Silk says, “These strong social bonds play an important role in the lives of these bats and probably in the lives of many social animals.”